Barak (right) said Netanyahu's policies could entangle Israel in the "Gaza quagmire" (Getty Images)
Former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak says his current counterpart, Benjamin Netanyahu, is doing "serious damage to Israel's strategic position" and leading an endless war in the Gaza Strip.
Barak warned against plunging Israel into years of conflicts and crises with US administrations, amid risks threatening Israel's relations with Arab countries with which normalization agreements have been concluded.
In an article in the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on Tuesday, Barak said that Israel is approaching a crucial crossroads in its war on Gaza since October 7.
He said Israeli forces had made significant gains in northern Gaza, but that Hamas was far from collapsing in the south and also retained some capabilities in the north.
Although he stressed that completing the task of dismantling Hamas's military and administrative capabilities "is crucial," he stressed that it would take months or more.
He criticized the lack of harmony between political vision and military decisions, which increases pressure on Israel as the war prolongs, and said Netanyahu bears responsibility for this imbalance.
Netanyahu failed to lead the war because of his denial that victory could not be achieved without a clear plan for the next day (after the elimination of Hamas).
The former prime minister criticized Netanyahu's association with an "unholy alliance" with National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir and Finance Minister Bezalel Smotrich, "who are obsessed with setting fires in the West Bank, who are protecting him from falling right now. But they are essentially exploiting it to impose their ideology that Gaza must return to full Israeli control and responsibility."
Those positions, he said, lead to the belief that Israel's security depends on full and permanent Israeli control of the Gaza Strip, "and through the same logic, to believe that we need to control Lebanon, and then Syria, and perhaps the entire region."
The success of that vision would entangle Israel in the "Gaza quagmire" and lead to years of conflict and crises with US administrations amid tangible risks to Israel's relations with Egypt and Jordan, the Abraham Accords and normalization plans with Saudi Arabia.
Barak stressed that Netanyahu's government "seriously damages Israel's strategic standing and leads an endless war," calling for an end to Netanyahu's presidency "before the consequences of his shortcomings become irreparable."
The former prime minister concluded that what is needed in the current circumstances is "an expanded national unity government without Netanyahu, without Smotrich and Ben Gvir."